Student drop-off causes trouble

Nov. 4, 2003, midnight | By Erica Hartmann | 20 years, 3 months ago

Almost an hour before classes start, parents have already begun dropping students off at the Colesville Road entrance to Blair. By 7:00 a.m. the line of cars going into the parking lot usually extends past the beltway exit ramp, said magnet science teacher Robert Donaldson.

On the morning of October 23, 198 cars dropped off students between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m: over three quarters arriving after 7:00 a.m. In addition, more than half of the 196 teachers who drove into the teacher parking lot also came in between 7:00 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.

Principal Phillip Gainous has been alerted to the situation by staff, students and parents, many of whom complain of aggressive driving on Colesville. Donaldson, who comes south on Colesville to get to school, observed, "There are many cases where people will try to [cut into] the line, but that may be because they didn't know the line was there." This confusion only serves to make aggressive driving worse. Gainous recalled some fender benders last year caused by the reckless behavior, but head of security Ed Reddick, said that there have been no accidents this year thus far.

Reddick, who patrols the Colesville lot before school suggested, "Parents need to realize that…there's no reason to rush because everybody is doing the same thing, and with only one exit, your departure is going to be limited." He also recommends that students be dropped off earlier before 7:00 a.m.

Others believe that students should take advantage of the transportation provided for them. "There isn't any need for all these people bringing students in cars," said Gainous. In response, warnings are sent out in the parent newsletter and a safety committee has been formed. The committee deals not only with the student drop-off situation but also with other traffic issues such as lights, signs and speed limits.

Despite these repeated pleas, parents still rush to drop their students off just after 7:00 a.m. "Things are getting slower every year," Donaldson claimed. He shares Gainous' opinion, stating, "The obvious thing is for the students to take the bus."

Some students dislike taking the bus because it does not come at a convenient time; however, a few have found alternative solutions that do not worsen traffic. Junior Will Timpson bikes to school because biking gives him "the freedom that having a car would, but it's not harmful to the environment and cheaper."

Timpson arrives every morning around 6:30 a.m. to cool off before classes. At that time, there is no traffic. Though he has fallen a couple of times and the last leg of his route takes him along the side of Colesville, he and his parents both feel that biking is "pretty safe."

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